[Hpn] SHELTERS NOT WARNED OF BAN IN PUBLIC SQUARES

Janine Larose janinelarose@hotmail.com
Thu, 10 Aug 2006 17:38:47 +0000


The Montreal Gazette, August 3,2006

Jan Ravensbergen
The Gazette

None of the city's homeless shelters received advance warning of a sweeping 
new ban on overnight stays in 15 downtown squares, Ville Marie borough 
official Jean-Yves Duthel said yesterday.

The borough council quietly approved the move Tuesday night, unanimously and 
without debate.

"We did not consult the shelters because it was a question of public 
security," Duthel added.

The ban is to take effect Sept. 1 and will be in force from midnight to 6 
a.m. The same measure has applied in Montreal's public parks for many years.

Homeless people beg passersby for money and sometimes nab napkins and 
cutlery through his open windows, said Iqbal Chatwal, owner of the Bombay 
Palace restaurant on Ste. Catherine St. W. near Cabot Square.

"There are too many homeless people... They drive away the customers," he 
said, approving of the new measure.

Cabot Square provides a relatively calm environment, said a 36-year-old 
homeless woman who gave her name as Lizzie P.

"I feel safe (here). Sometimes I even sleep alone at night; nobody bothers 
me."

One councillor, Karim Bouls, said after the 5-0 vote that the displaced 
could sleep at Accueil Bonneau. But Accueil Bonneau doesn't provide 
overnight beds, David Lussier of the Welcome Hall Mission noted. "It's sad 
the way the borough is extending the arm of the law without talking to us," 
he said.

Brigitte Germain of the Old Brewery Mission said she was "surprised and 
sisappointed."  "We'll be full, full, full," she predicted. "For sure, we'll 
have to turn people away."

One estimate pegs Montreal's homeless at 20,000, and "the governments aren't 
helping us, " she said.  "There was an agreement with the police after an 
analysis of the security problem," Duthel said. "Maybe 30 to 40 people" will 
be displaced, he said.

The 15 squares "are practically the lst public places in the borough where 
people could go," said Bernard St-Jacques of Réseau Solidarité Itinérance du 
Québec.

janr@thegazette.canwest.com